This fall, OJC is introducing a new program in the health care field. Health navigation is a developing profession evolving out of the need for patient support in today’s complex health care system. By serving as a link between patients, providers, and community resources, the Navigator is essential in guiding patients toward preventative care and reducing health care expenses.
The Community Health Worker certificate is a one-year program that prepares individuals for employment as Community Health Workers. Community Health Workers will assist clients, in a variety of settings serving as facilitators, advocates, and referral professionals linking them to health care and related social services.
Fall classes for the certificate will include Introduction to Community Health Work (CHW 100), which will be held Tuesdays from 12:30 – 2:20 p.m.; Community Health Issues (CHW 120), which will meet Thursdays from 12:30 – 3:20 p.m.; and Basics of Chronic Disease (CHW 135), which will meet Tuesdays from 2:30 -3:50 p.m.
In addition to the Community Health Worker certificate, OJC is developing an Associate of Applied Science program in Health Navigation. Current plans are to have this program in place by the 2014-2015 academic year. OJC is also working with four-year schools around the state to articulate this program to a bachelor’s degree.
According to Denise Root, nursing and health occupations director, the field is expanding rapidly. “There is a federal push for Health Navigation to increase patient accountability and self-advocacy as well as reduce inappropriate patient visits and decrease the cost of health care,” said Root.
Although this is a developing profession, a similar career area is Community and Social Services Specialist. The Colorado LMI projects this career to grow by 24.3% between 2011 & 2021. According to Colorado wage information, Community and Social Services Specialists beginning wages are $11.75 and range to a median of $18.12 hourly. A survey of local health facilities indicates that health navigation skills will be required in patient care facilities supported by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
For more information on the Community Health Worker certificate program, contact Lavona Tyscka at (719) 384- 6878 or (719) 384- 6898 or visit the Health Navigation program page on OJC’s website: http://www.ojc.edu/cteHealthNav.aspx